All hail Divergent! A collective sigh of relief emanated from the halls of Hollywood this past weekend when the latest attempt to score with young female moviegoers worked with the successful $55 million debut of the post-apocalyptic film Divergent. And it’s not just the studio executives at Summit Entertainment who are breathing a sigh of relief as they ready the next two movies in the trilogy based on Veronica Roth’s young adult novels. The exhale also comes from those in Hollywood who had been working on a host of teen-centric adaptations last year amid the troubling trend that saw any project not called The Hunger Games flop, including Beautiful Creatures, The Mortal Instruments, and Stephenie Meyer’s The Host. READ FULL STORY
Tag: The Hunger Games (1-10 of 213)
Divergent, whatever you think of it as a movie (I found it to be your basic, agreeably rousing sensitive-teen-in-Amish-linen-finds-her-inner-tattooed-jock-to-fight-the-power formula dystopian thriller), is, like the young-adult novel it’s based on, a piece of pulp mythology that obviously borrows a lot from The Hunger Games. The heroine who hails from a downtrodden district or, in this case, a faction (Abnegnation) that prizes self-sacrifice; the fascist schemers up top; the whole gym-class-on-steroids feeling of a seemingly normal girl who rises to a series of death-defying physical challenges; and, of course, the sense that the heroine can accomplish all this because, while ordinary on the surface, she’s really different, she’s special, she’s a rebel, she’s divergent in her innate superiority. (Why do I feel as if Leni Riefenstahl would have loved these movies?) READ FULL STORY
'Catching Fire' on Blu-ray: Jennifer Lawrence describes the pressure of high expectations -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO
If the last two years in Hollywood have taught us anything, it’s that The Hunger Games was never the absolute sure thing that, in hindsight, it seems to be. Yes, Suzanne Collins’ trilogy of books were enormous best-sellers — but so were The Mortal Instruments, Beautiful Creatures, and Ender’s Game. There was no guarantee that the first Hunger Games movie would dominate the box office, that passionate readers of the book would automatically accept the characters as they were depicted onscreen, and that uninitiated moviegoers wouldn’t turn up their noses at all the “Next Harry Potter” hype. The fact that all those things happened is a credit to the filmmakers, but it was hardly inevitable.
Catching Fire arrives on Blu-ray tonight at midnight, and in a special nine-part making-of documentary, the cast and crew describe the imposing challenge of bringing Katniss Everdeen and the denizens of Panem to life. “It was a scary thing that we were doing,” Jennifer Lawrence says in the doc. “It’s hard when you get great books that are so loved by people. It’s impossible not to disappoint somebody.”
Disappointed? Certainly no one at Lionsgate is. The first Hunger Games grossed $408.0 million, and Catching Fire topped that with $423.9 million. It was last year’s biggest hit in the U.S., making Lawrence the first actress to headline a year’s highest grosser since Kate Winslet and Titanic.
In the two exclusive clips below, Lawrence and company describe the pressure they felt to deliver — and the magnitude of success they never could have imagined. READ FULL STORY
Fans of The Hunger Games franchise had the great pleasure of watching Philip Seymour Hoffman rip into the expanded character of Head Gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee in Catching Fire. In the wake of news of the actor’s death, Lionsgate released a statement this afternoon mourning the great loss: “Philip Seymour Hoffman was a singular talent and one of the most gifted actors of our generation. We’re very fortunate that he graced our Hunger Games family. Losing him in his prime is a tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Philip’s family.”
Plutarch remains a pivotal figure in the two remaining sequels Mockingjay Parts 1 and 2. Hoffman is said to have largely wrapped on the Part 1 shoot, and had seven remaining days of filming left for Part 2. How director Frances Lawrence and team will work around his tragic absence is still unknown. But their colleague and friend’s death won’t affect the films’ scheduled release dates of Nov. 21, 2014 and Nov. 20, 2015, respectively.
UPDATE: Jennifer Lawrence, Mockingjay director Francis Lawrence, author Suzanne Collins, and producers Nina Jacobson and Jon Kilik released a joint statement following the news of Hoffman’s death. “Words cannot convey the devastating loss we are all feeling right now. Philip was a wonderful person and an exceptional talent, and our hearts are breaking. Our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to his family.”
The third installment of the Hunger Games film franchise has an utterly unwieldy title (what hast thou wrought, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1?) — and, as of today, a cool new poster that marries the book’s memorable cover image with a healthy dose of flames. It’s also reminiscent of Catching Fire‘s first “motion poster,” as well as a similar image released way back in July 2011 to promote the first Hunger Games movie
In other words: The campaign begins as it always begins… but if Mockingjay the novel is any indication, the film’s advertisements may start treading new ground as its release date draws closer. (At the very least, Capitol Couture propaganda wouldn’t make sense for these last two movies — right?)
Check it out below — and may the odds be ever in your favor:
Box office report: 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' breaks November record with $161.1 million debut
The girl on fire is still burning bright! Lionsgate’s hotly anticipated sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire trounced the competition over its first weekend at the box office, pulling in an estimated $161.1 million. That gross handily beats the $152.5 million opening of The Hunger Games, which opened in March 2012, and it stands as the best November debut of all time ahead of The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which bowed with $142.9 million in 2009.
Only three films have ever opened higher than Catching Fire: The Avengers ($207.4 million), Iron Man 3 ($174.1 million), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 ($169.2 million). Many prognosticators (this one included) thought Catching Fire might surpass Iron Man 3‘s opening earlier this year, but the superhero sequel had the notable advantage of 3-D ticket sales, and Catching Fire fell short. Still, if estimates hold up when final grosses are released tomorrow, Catching Fire will have bested The Dark Knight Rises as the highest 2-D opener of all time. Rises pulled in $160.9 million during its opening weekend in 2012. Even without 3-D appeal, Catching Fire played very well on IMAX screens. The large-screen format accounted for $12.6 million of its domestic debut. READ FULL STORY
Box office update: 'Catching Fire' earns $70.5 million on Friday, may open lower than first 'Hunger Games'
On its first Friday in theaters, Lionsgate’s hotly anticipated sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire pulled in $70.5 million, a gross that includes $25.3 million that the film earned during Thursday night engagements beginning at 8 p.m.
Catching Fire was projected to open substantially higher than the original Hunger Games, which debuted with $152.5 million in March 2012, but it actually appears headed for a finish in the exact same range, perhaps earning around $150 million over the Friday-to-Sunday period. Though Catching Fire will likely score the best November opening of all time, ahead of The Twilight Saga: New Moon‘s $142.9 million bow, it will need great holds on Saturday and Sunday to take down Iron Man 3‘s $174.1 million opening (which benefitted from a boost from 3-D ticket sales) as the best of 2013, though it’s still a possibility.
READ FULL STORY
Empire Strikes Back or The Matrix Reloaded? The Dark Knight or Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest? Often, the follow-up to a sure-thing franchise starter, freed of the demands of table-setting exposition, delivers a deeper, more character-driven story. Other times, the sequel is a double-down rehash that makes you second-guess what you liked about the original in the first place. And occasionally, the second film is a space-holder, a bridge from the movie that first introduced the characters to the third (and fourth) chapter that will ultimately determine their fate.
With Catching Fire, the adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ second book in the Hunger Games trilogy, critics seem to be leaning towards a combination of 1 and 3. It’s a more-confident, more-polished movie that delves deeper into Panem’s political conflict. But it’s also more a prequel to the first of two Mockingjay movies than a sequel. There’s a bigger universe to explore and Catching Fire is necessary to get us there.
Jennifer Lawrence is back as Katniss, who’s struggling with post-traumatic stress after out-shooting and out-thinking the competition in the Hunger Games, allowing her and her for-show boyfriend Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) to survive as co-winners. She’s thrown back into the Hunger Games arena to battle a collection of all-star killers when President Snow (Donald Sutherland), fearing rebellion in the oppressed districts, correctly sees her as a threatening symbol of defiance.
The rest of the Katniss entourage is back as well, with Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Lenny Kravitz, and Stanley Tucci reprising their roles under the direction of Francis Lawrence, who takes the reins from Gary Ross. Joining the team are Philip Seymour Hoffman, who plays the Capitol’s clever new Gamemaker, and Sam Claflin, as a beefcake gladiator who’s equal parts lover and fighter.
But it’s Jennifer Lawrence, who some moviegoers did not even know pre-Hunger Games, that makes Catching Fire more than just the latest big YA box-office spectacle. The 23-year-old actress has won an Oscar since she last visited Panem, and critics are impressed that she commits to Katniss just as much as she would a complex David O. Russell character. “She more than holds her own, turning her face into a dreamy-pale Valkyrie mask,” writes EW’s Owen Gleiberman. “You react to every wave of sadness and fury roiling around inside Katniss, even when Katniss isn’t allowed to show it.”
A movie like Catching Fire doesn’t need the critics to give it their stamp of approval to win the weekend, but click below to see what they are saying about the sequel before you purchase your tickets. READ FULL STORY
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire won’t open in the U.S. until Nov. 22, but the sequel to last year’s box-office smash had its world premiere in London on Monday night. “Everything is much bigger,” Jennifer Lawrence said on the red carpet. “Everything is intensified. … The stakes are much higher.”
The early reviews seemed to agree with Lawrence, for better and worse — but mostly for the better. “Catching Fire is leaner, gutsier and smarter,” wrote Time Out London. “In hand-to-hand combat, it would have the first film on the floor, trapped in a headlock, whimpering for mercy. Over two-and-a-half heart-pounding hours, it doesn’t drag for a second.”
The Hollywood Reporter thinks fans of the books and the first film will consume the sequel, which was directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend) after Gary Ross left the franchise: “The new film boasts a noticeably spiffier, more confident feel than the first, even as the overriding impression is one of methodical responsibility to the source material.” READ FULL STORY
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